Monday, May 19, 2014

Large and At Large: We're Just Here for Godzilla

           In a lot of ways Godzilla is a perfect topic for me to write about.  “Godzilla” is a common English expression referring to something huge.  We append “zilla” to another word to suggest a giant-sized version, often with comedic intent.  The character has appeared in ad campaigns (outside of Japan), comic books, and American Saturday morning cartoons, but the Japanese have never bothered with an ongoing Godzilla cartoon.  Gareth Edwards’ new film Godzilla, hereafter called Godzilla (2014) demonstrates that plenty of Americans get Godzilla, because this is certainly a Godzilla movie.  It is not as layered and meaningful as 1954’s Gojira, but Edwards’ film follows the formula used by the majority of Godzilla movies.  The plot unfolds in the same manner as older Toho-produced Godzilla movies, and preserves the most enduring weakness of the franchise: uninteresting humans.  If you fear this will be a repeat of 1998’s Matthew Broderick vehicle, fear no more.  This one is a real Godzilla movie.  But I am not writing a review of the movie.  I am here to examine why Hollywood made this movie, and not Toho Studios itself.